LASIK, LASEK, and PRK are all very similar vision correction procedures. In order to better understand what makes each one unique, it helps to see their fundamental differences side by side.
In LASIK, a flap is created in your cornea to allow the laser energy to be applied directly to the inner layer of your eye. The flap is then replaced and serves as a kind of natural bandage, allowing for fast healing.
LASEK also uses a corneal flap, but one that is much thinner than LASIK’s and only involves the epithelium (topmost layer).
In PRK, no flap is created at all. Instead, the laser energy is applied directly to your eye’s surface. The epithelium is completely removed during by the laser during this process, and eventually grows back on its own.